Chintan Sarda: A lot of awards in India haven’t built credibility like the international ones
Chintan Sarda’s short film The Broken Table won at the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival and is now a step closer to win the Academy Award
Filmmaker Chintan Sarda’s short film The Broken Table, won at the Bengaluru International Short Film Festival and is now a step closer to win the Academy Awards- a dream for many. And Sarda is as elated as one could be. However, he shares that awards and recognition was not on his mind while he was working on it.
“One does not make films for awards but when audience or awards recognise you, it does give you a sense of validation and satisfaction. Especially when your film qualifies for the biggest prize in cinema on the planet, it cannot not feel good,” he tells us, adding he is not keeping the hopes too high. “It is still a long shot and the film may never make it to the nomination stage but being in the pool from which nominations are picked, is itself a big deal. I feel that films are like a playground, where I am playing my favourite game – storytelling. I get to make a make believe world and characters. I get to create drama and humour. It all is too good to be true and I still can’t believe I can do this for a living.”
The topic of how approval from outside the country- international festivals and award shows - has been a point of debate. While some filmmakers find no harm in it, others see it as a way of belittling our own country and people. Sharing his views on the same, Sarda says, “I feel each award has its own credibility and standing. Unfortunately a lot of awards in India haven’t built credibility like the international ones because they are run more like an entertainment package or a TV show and a very small contingent of the filmmaking fraternity really deciding who wins what. So it is not really approval from an international festival or award but it is more about which award or festival has managed to create a standing in the industry and the minds of people like Oscars, BAFTA or Emmys have.”
The film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Rasika Dugal revolves around Alzheimer’s. While it may be a complicated subject, having acting stalwarts like them made the execution easy, shares the director.
“It does become easier to execute one’s ideas as these stalwarts bring so much craft and experience on the table. I had met Rasika at a film festival. When I pitched the short film to her, she immediately agreed to do it. Later, in fact we had disagreements as subsequent drafts were a major departure from the first one but eventually we found common ground. Those disagreement helped us a lot I think in understanding what we really wanted to say through the film and how.”
It was Duggal, who introduced Sarda to Shah. “Naseer sahab has been her teacher at the film institute. He immediately came on board too after reading the script. He said he loved the script. First interaction with him was at his house and I was constantly telling myself that I cannot act like a fan. He is a legend and a reason I entered films but I had to give him confidence then that I can direct him. It worked out I guess,” he ended